Tag Archives: summer intern

Annie Barker is searching for the meaning of life and a good cup of coffee

Annie Barker at FT desk 6.5.17

Annie Barker

Hello Fountain Family! My name is Annie Barker and I will be the Production Intern at the Fountain Theatre this summer. I’m an incoming senior at Loyola Marymount University, studying Theatre Arts and English because I thrive under the looming cloud that is inevitable unemployment. Outside of the theatre, I love going to Disneyland, volunteering at animal shelters, and searching for a good cup of coffee.

I grew up in the rainy city of Portland, Oregon. I found comfort within the rows of Powell’s City of Books. A voracious reader, I would always ask my dad what the books he was reading were about. He would respond with “a man searching for the meaning of life.” As a nine year old, this response was incredibly annoying. As I’ve gotten older though, I’ve realized the importance of this question. As a result, I seek to write, create, watch, and perform stories that follow the convoluted path to the meaning of life.

I am interested in any and all aspects of the theatre, though I have found the greatest joy and rewards in acting, directing, and playwriting. This past fall I made my full-length directing debut with Neil LaBute’s reasons to be pretty. This project helped me confirm my love for directing, leading me to my current project—a senior thesis production of Ruby Rae Spiegel’s Dry Land. While choosing to do a play about abortion at a Catholic Jesuit university may seem challenging, it is the challenge that makes me want to tackle this piece head on.

Theatre people love using the phrase blessed. Take a quick glance in any program and you will see “so-and-so is so blessed to be…” However, I believe that blessed is the only way to describe how I feel to be working with Fountain Theatre this summer. I cannot wait to dive into this work, helping a theatre company do the exact thing I aspire to do in all of my work—creating work that matters, stimulates conversation, and pushes us to examine our own lives and purpose.

That being said, I am so honored to be a part of this family and look forward to the craziness and creation this summer will entail. Let the journey begin!

This internship is sponsored by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission

The night I went from selling flamenco fans to becoming one

FORD Merch table Victoria Sela

Victoria Montecillo and Marisela Hughes

by Victoria Montecillo

This past weekend was the biggest event of the summer for the Fountain: Forever Flamenco at the Ford. Since I’ve been working here at the Fountain, this event was something we were all working towards, and I found myself growing more curious and excited to see what all of the fuss was about. As a newcomer, Forever Flamenco sounded like an amazing opportunity to showcase a beautiful and unique art form to the communities of Los Angeles. In the weeks leading up to the big night, everyone in the office kept telling me about the fervor and passion of the flamenco community, and that I had to just wait to see it for myself. No amount of preparation, however, could have prepared me for the experience. 

FORD seats fansOn the day of the show, I came to the venue early with the rest of the Fountain family in order to put out the VIP gift bags (I had spent the weeks leading up to the show working very hard to make sure the bags were all ready and had what they needed, so I was very proud of them), and set up a merchandise table up front. By the time it got to be about two hours before curtain, I started to notice a sizable crowd gathered outside, ready and waiting with picnic baskets. Once the gates opened, people came streaming in, chatting excitedly and eyeing our merchandise and flamenco fans as they passed our merchandise table. And once the gates had opened, the people just kept streaming in. There were people laughing and eating together, and greeting others in what felt like a true community. 

Many of the people who approached our table were loyal, longtime flamenco fans who loved and appreciated the Fountain’s commitment to producing flamenco. Others were drawn to our beautiful fans, where they shared that this was their first flamenco show. It was amazing to see and be able to meet all of the different people that were in attendance at this big event, and to get to feel the pure excitement in the air.

FORD Merch table

Barbara Goodhill, Victoria Montecillo and Marisela Hughes at the merchandise table.

The show itself was truly something to see. With the extent of my knowledge about flamenco being pretty much the dancing lady emoji and the sounds of fervent stomping and complex guitar riffs coming from the rehearsal room of the Fountain that week, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I certainly could not have anticipated the raw passion and artistic skill that I saw in each of those performers. What I found to be most striking about watching these flamenco musicians and dancers was that each one of them seemed so happy to be there. They were all doing what they loved most, with a group of artists that understood that passion. 

FORD 2016 prod photo 1

On top of that, I could feel the excitement and joy in the crowd around me throughout the show. During each number, the audience would interject with enthusiastic applause, clapping, and excited cheers. Families around me grabbed each other’s shoulders and clasped each other’s hands as they shouted encouragements to the musicians and the dancers as they did what they do best, and I truly felt like I was experiencing a new community full of joy, passion, and celebration. It was a truly unique and amazing experience. 

I am so grateful to everyone at the Fountain, as well as the fantastic team of flamenco artists, for introducing me to the beautiful community of flamenco. I certainly hope I’m able to witness something like this again in my life.

Victoria Montecillo is the Fountain Theatre’s 2016 Summer Arts Intern. We thank the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission for their support. 

High school freshman proves she can pound nails with the best of them

Ava Morgan

Ava Morgan

Ava Morgan may be slight of build — with smart eyes and a bright smile — but she’s a powerhouse at building sets. The enthusiastic high-schooler joined our stage carpentry team as part of a two-week summer internship program at the Fountain. 

Ava lives with her family in Los Angeles and is a freshman at Marlborough School in Hancock Park. She got interested in the technical backstage life of theatre — props, lights, set building — in 7th grade. For two years, she performed a variety of backstage jobs in plays at school. Marlborough Technical Director, Doug Lowry, was impressed and eager to encourage her growth and education.

“He asked me if I’d be interested in interning at a professional theater for a few weeks during the summer,” Ava explains. “When we talked about it more, he brought up the Fountain and we decided to give it a shot. It worked out great.”

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Lowry contacted Stephen Sachs at the Fountain Theatre and Ava was immediately put to work as an intern building sets for our upcoming West Coast Premiere of Tennessee Williams’ Baby Doll. As a stage carpenter, she was cutting lumber, building flats and platforms, and putting it all together with the rest of the professional team. Soon, she was also climbing ladders, striking and hanging lights. 

“I absolutely liked working at the Fountain,” she beams. “I am not sure exactly what I expected it to be, especially since this was my first time having a job of sorts outside of school. I liked working in areas that I have basic training in, but have not had the opportunity to focus on them at school. I think it actually was a good thing to do it in an unfamiliar setting with people I haven’t worked with before.”

Foremost was Scott Tuomey, the Fountain Technical Director for 26 years who has overseen every production since the theatre’s founding in 1990. He mentored Ava’s internship, guiding her through the techniques of professional stage craft. 

“I had a lot of one-on-one time with Scott,” says Ava. “Which allowed me to ask more questions than I would in a group setting and learn more about not only what to do and how to do it but why. I had a great time working with him.”

And, says Ava, it was a valuable educational experience. 

“I think one of the most important things I learned was how to communicate with coworkers who were older and more experienced than me, ” she admits. “I also learned much more about how to translate designs into sets and the various skills related to carpentry.”

Her brief internship now over, Ava is enjoying some summer vacation time with her family before returning to school. She is grateful for her time at the Fountain and sends “a huge thanks to everyone who made it happen.”

Will she come back to see her handiwork on Baby Doll when it opens at the Fountain?

“Definitely!” she beams. “I’m excited to see the final product.” 

Creating a theatre family and community: Meet intern Victoria Montecillo

Victoria Montecillo at desk June 2016by Victoria Montecillo

Hey there Fountain family! My name is Victoria Montecillo and I am the Development Intern at The Fountain this summer. I am a recent graduate of Scripps College, where I got a double degree in Theatre and Media Studies. Aside from theatre, I love music (making it and listening to it!), reading (now that I’m done with college, I actually have time to read again), and spending time with the people I love. I was born in New York, but my family moved to Hong Kong before I turned two, so I grew up in Hong Kong before coming back to the United States for college.

In my experiences in theatre, I’ve done a little bit of everything – I found my passion as a performer, and I explored working in sound, lights, and directing. I found that although my heart initially was only with performing, I loved being involved in theatre in any way I could. I loved being a part of the work, and helping create that final product. In college, I became so much more aware of the power of theatre; the power of giving voices to untold stories, and of reaching out to audiences through stories of the human experience. 

At the same time, I was beginning to better understand my own identity as a first-generation Filipino-American who grew up abroad. This year, I went to see a play written by a professor of mine about Filipina immigrant women in the United States. The script was a mix of English and Tagalog, with supertitles projected onto the set. It was the first time I had seen a piece of original theatre with people onstage who looked like me, and talking like my family. Each of their stories were powerful, real, and resonated with me in a way I didn’t expect. That’s when I realized the true power of theatre, and I understood my compulsion to work in theatre. I wanted to have a hand in the stories that are told onstage, and I wanted to be able to help create theatre that reached out to all kinds of audiences, to make them feel heard and understood. 

I am so incredibly thrilled to be here at the Fountain this summer – not only do I admire the work that they produce, I am just so honored to be welcomed to the family and community here. Community is such an essential aspect of theatre and creating art, and I am so excited to do my part to contribute and further the work done here. 

Our thanks to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Los Angeles County Arts Internship Program for making this summer internship possible.  

Isa’s Intern Journal: Utopia

FT archives Aug 2015by Isa Espy

One of my favorite things about theatre is that, when in it, you are free to create worlds that don’t have to abide by the rules of reality. In the last several weeks I have spent many an hour sifting though The Fountain’s archives. Looking through old playbills feels strangely akin to walking though the Museum of Natural History— each one is like a peek at the remnants of a different world. Every play has its own texture, its own rhythm, its own particular flavor.

Last semester, I took an amazing architecture class that felt more like a philosophy lecture. In it we delved into the true meaning of Utopia. Thomas More wrote a book in the early 1500s about the fictional island of Utopia, the home of a society whose religious, social and political customs were harmonious. More fashioned the name of his island from the Greek ou (‘not’) and topos (‘place’). By its very appellation, a Utopia cannot exist in the real world. It cannot be created or completely realized within reality; it is a non place. The purpose of a Utopia is to be a platform from which we may view and critique our own world.

I believe theatre to be a type of Utopia. When a set designer and a lighting designer and a writer come together, they do not just create a story, they fashion a world. As soon as you step into a theatre, time no longer abides by worldly conventions. Sunlight can become rose or pale purple, shining ethereally from a fresnel light. The ocean can seep from the corners of a deep blue blanket. A leopard can sing a child a lullaby. An entire universe is contained within a play.

Utopia.

Utopia.

When an audience goes to see a play, we spend and hour or two in a different world. Yet, after the actors take their last bow and the house lights flick on, that world dissolves into a Non Place, and you find yourself back in the reality you had left behind. Theatre is the ultimate Utopia. We do not live in West Side Story‘s New York or the Paris of Les Miz. We can’t break into song whenever we feel like it. Nor can we be so raw as we are on stage, we cannot bear our soul on a day-­to-­day basis. No one wants to break down every time they buy a smoothie at Whole Foods, or fall passionately and dangerously in love with the person behind the desk at the DMV. Human emotion in its rawest form, stripped of its binding of everyday convention, is powerful but ever so delicate.

We need the armor we carry every day to protect us. But if we can take it off for an hour or two at the theatre, it seems a little lighter when we have to put it back on.

CITIZEN: An American Lyric at the Fountain Theatre

CITIZEN: An American Lyric at the Fountain Theatre

Our current production, Citizen: An American Lyric, is about race in America. Like all good theatre, once audiences and actors are in the world of Citizen, different rules apply. We can talk about problems that go unnoticed or unaddressed. We can use words we would never say. We can look directly at issues under the forgiving light of a fresnel that would hurt our eyes in the harsh light of our unforgiving sun.

After we applaud Citizen and exit The Fountain’s cozy walls, we go back to our world. It is no longer safe. But we carry a little bit of that truth with us, that thing we just glimpsed. We do not live in the Utopia of the theatre, but we have stood on that placeless island for an hour or two and looked from a distance at our little moving planet, our flawed country, our damaged city, our fissured neighborhoods, our dysfunctional homes, our imperfect selves … and we have gotten to know them a little better. The world might be the same as when we entered the theatre and hour and a half earlier, but we are not.

Isabel Espy is the Fountain Theatre’s summer intern from UCLA. We are grateful for the support of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and its Arts Internship program.  

 

Isa’s Intern Journal: Morning Coffee, Rupert & Rasberry Birthday Cake

blue coffe cup

by Isa Espy

For the last two weeks I have been arriving at around 10 a.m. each morning, and unlocking the Fountain’s second floor side door. Sometimes I am greeted by Maria, the Fountain’s lovely housekeeper. Other times, the first thing to hit me as I walk though the door is the whiff of brewing coffee (one of the world’s best smells, in my opinion). Occasionally, though, I am the first one to arrive, and the Fountain’s sunny cafe welcomes me with a sleepy quiet that is quickly dispelled as people begin to trickle in.

Last Thursday, however, was not such a day. The Fountain regularly rents out its space to other theatre artists within the community, and last week we were hosting a haunting immersive theatre project called Alone which describes itself as “an ongoing, site-specific, fully-immersive and existential experience that explores the range of human emotions.”  Alone had transformed our space, covering all the windows with foil, and draping our walls with black fabric. I was the first person to arrive Thursday morning, and I opened the side door into pitch blackness. I fumbled around for the light switch, all the while hearing the eerie rustle of tinfoil. 

Audiences enter Alone: An Existential Haunting

It was a little unsettling sitting alone in the dark when it was actually morning. Making photocopies suddenly became an adventure as I had to navigate myself through cloth tunnels to get to the printer.

About an hour later The Fountain was abuzz with activity. James Bennett was holding rehearsals for his Rapid Dev show — Leland Frankel’s new play Better Part of Forever. The Alone team was putting the last touches on their show before it opened that night, and Citizen: An American Lyric was rehearsing in the theatre. A full and busy house!

Happy Birthday, Deborah!

Happy Birthday, Deborah!

Rupert

Rupert

While everyone was lovely, one new face in particular stole my heart. That face happened to be covered in fur. Deborah’s dog, Rupert, made a guest appearance at our staff meeting, and I fell in love. Our meeting was extra special because we were also celebrating Deborah Lawlor’s birthday. Book keeper Licia Jaccard made a delicious flowerless chocolate cake with raspberries in celebration. And, while our staff meeting to­ do list was ever-­growing, chocolate cake made it so much better.

Isa Espy is our summer intern from UCLA. Our thanks to the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and the support of its Arts Internship Program.  

Isa’s Intern Journal: Hi There, Fountain Family!

Isabel Espy

by Isabel Espy

My name is Isa and I am so excited to be joining the Fountain Family for the next ten weeks as an intern in development. I am a rising senior acting major at UCLA’s School of Theatre Film and Television, with a minor in society and genetics. I grew up in Chile, where I spent a lot of my time riding horses and dancing ballet on rickety wooden stages. While my home is more than five thousand miles away, the California summer sun reminds me of that of Chile, and spending my summer immersed within the world of performance reestablishes my conviction that art is universal.

Isabel Feb 2015Most of my experience with theatre has been in performance, but I am finding that what goes on behind the scenes at a theatre can be almost as exciting as being on stage! Within my first day here at The Fountain, Stephen and Barbara have introduced me to a throng of new and ongoing projects which promise to be both exciting and challenging. There is so much going on, and I hope to get my bearings quickly so that I can delve right in! I was able to sit in on one of the initial table-reads of The Fountain’s newest project: Citizen: An American Lyric — by Claudia Rankine and adapted for the stage by Stephen Sachs. I had just finished reading the script the night before, and hearing the words brought to life by the voices of an amazing group of actors was really exhilarating. I am happy I will have a chance to watch the piece flourish over the next couple of weeks, and am looking forward to being a small part of the Fountain team.

Our thanks to the LA County Board of Supervisors and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission for the support of their Arts Internship Program.